On ‘Welcome’: Migration, First Nations and Refugee Communities

On 'Welcome': Migration, First Nations and Refugee Communities

What’s in a welcome? It’s a word we hear often in relation to Australia’s refugee movement – but in the context of hostile refugee policy and unceded sovereignty, what meanings can it hold?

Together with the Refugee Council of Australia, we’re hosting the official launch of Refugee Week 2020. We’ll kick off the week-long celebration with a deep dive into the parallels and intersections between Indigenous and refugee rights, curated by director, creative producer and playwright Grace Edward and hosted by Shabnam Safa. Speakers from Australia’s First Nations and refugee communities will reflect on complex ideas of hospitality, community, diversity and tolerance – through Australia’s past and present.

Presented in partnership with Refugee Council of Australia.


Portrait of Shabnam Safa

Shabnam Safa

Shabnam is the current Chair of the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG), a refugee led entity that envisions to create spaces, platforms and strong voices led by former refugees, people from refugee like backgrounds and people seeking asylum in key decision making tables, policy,  public and media discourse. NRAAG's aims to inform key policies, service delivery, campaigns, research, and key initiatives affecting the lives of its constituents with a range of partners and allies.

Shabnam is also a Project Officer at the Centre for Multicultural Youth working to eliminate barriers faced by young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and helping them become influential agents of change.

Portrait of Gheran-Yarraman Steel (Briggs)

Gheran-Yarraman Steel (Briggs)

Gheran-Yarraman is currently undertaking his Juris Doctorate at Monash Law Chambers and has completed his MBA (Executive) at RMIT Graduate School of Business and Law, where he gained a passion for Design Thinking and Cultural Intelligence. As a purpose-driven Indigenous professional, Gheran now utilises these proven innovation and design methods to create culturally smart opportunities for organisations who strive to become leaders in reconciliation and cultural competence, a future where First Peoples’ culture and heritage is not only valued and respected but integrated into our shared Australian way of life.

Gheran draws from 20 years of experience in operations and people management in the commercial sectors, as well in the not-for-profit sector, where he proudly served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Boon Wurrung Foundation Limited, the Boonwurrung community's representative body.

Portrait of Amiel Nubaha

Amiel Nubaha

Born and raised up in a refugee Camp following the Rwandan Genocide, Amiel Nubaha migrated to Australia in 2009 aged 14 through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Resettlement Program. Despite his recent refugee ordeal, Amiel recently graduated with a Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University.

Amiel is the Managing Director of Workforce Diversity Consultancy Inc, Founder of Thousand Hills Inspire Initiative and also a founding member of Rochedale South-East Technology Park Rotary Club, Amiel is a recent former President of the Rwandan Association of Queensland, currently sits on the Youth Advisory Committee of the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development, and a former Youth Member for Woodridge Electorate.


Portrait of Ashlee Kearney

Ashlee Kearney

A proud Ngiyampaa, Wiradjuri and Ngemba woman from far west New South Wales, Ashlee was born and spent most of her life on Dharug country in Auburn, NSW. 

She studied a Bachelor of Educational Studies and an Associate Degree in Indigenous Education at the Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, NSW. Ashlee has also completed postgraduate studies in Public Policy at the Australian National University, Acton, ACT.

Her professional background spans across the education, social and community work sectors and in the political and policy fields. Ashlee is the Disability Royal Commission Project Manager at the First Peoples Disability Network.